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Help!?! Need advice from BTDT moms!


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  • 3 Post By alittlelost
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  #1  
April 20th, 2013, 09:50 AM
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Hi ladies! Hope everyone is doing well. I'm having a bit of a struggle right now at home. DD#1 has been displaying some pretty aggressive (and completely uncharacteristic) behaviors lately. It only happens when she doesn't get what she wants. She'll try to punch, hit, kick, headbutt, etc. In fact, yesterday I had to pick her up from school because she had hit and kicked one of her teachers. The teacher wouldn't let her eat a 3rd morning snack because they had to go visit another classroom.

Of course, this is directly due to the fact that the newness has finally worn off her new sister. Also, every single place we go, people fawn over DD#2 and DD#1 is left out. Of course, if someone says something like, "Oh, she's beautiful!" about DD#2, I always reply with "She must take after her big sister." Etc. (not to brag about the apparent beauty of my children, but this is just one example that comes to mind quickly.) Also, I know that 99% of my attention is now focused on the baby, simply because she will not let anyone else hold her for more than 5 minutes (including hubby) before dissolving into hysterics! Needless to say, I'm always the one feeding her, holding her, etc.

I'm at a loss at to what the natural consequences of hitting, kicking, etc. should be. I made her go up to her room today because, after kicking her father repeatedly, I told her that if she couldn't be around people without hitting, kicking, etc., then she was not going to be allowed to be around people. (Might not have been the best response, but that's all I could think of in the moment!). Because of yesterday, she also will not participate in swim lessons, gymnastics, or play dates this week.

Please help! I need advice! Even if you're not a been-there-done-that mama, any advice is appreciated. Sorry that this is so long-winded and that my first post back in a while is one in which I complain. I'm just losing it!
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  #2  
April 20th, 2013, 10:58 AM
IronMamma's Avatar Intactivist
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Oh no! She kicked on of her teachers? That's no good!

No, that is a good idea to not make her feel left out. I would do the same. I could imagine, it's hard to be number one and then to have someone kinda "take over" for a little because babies need way more attention and constant care.

I really do not have much experience with this because Drake is still too small. I would imagine I would do the explain a lot game. I would show / tell him alternatives to getting people's attention etc. I would let him know that hitting / punching / kicking and all that hurts and makes people sad. It's SO hard though. I really do not know. I am not a BTDT Mamma but I did not want you to feel like I did not read what you wrote.

I am SURE the ladies here will have some great advice. Good luck!
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Want to find a calmer way to parent? Please visit here HINTA Hitting Is Never The Answer
Gentle parenting is about guiding instead of controlling,
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and encouraging instead of demanding.
It's about listening, understanding, responding and communicating.

)O( Peace on Earth begins at Home )O(

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  #3  
April 20th, 2013, 01:25 PM
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I have some ideas. I will respond better in a bit. Fixing to cook some supper.
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  #4  
April 20th, 2013, 06:33 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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The number one thing you need to do (and may already be doing) is addressing what is causing these behaviors (at the core). If you think it's because she's not getting attention, just be sure you are making one on one time for her and telling her often that you love her. If she expresses concern about her sister, tell her that a mother's love doesn't get "split" between kids when she has another one. It doubles. And not only do you love her as much as ever, but she will be MORE loved now because she will have a sister to love her, too. If you can arrange any special one-on-one time with her, I would. Or your husband can. It's hard when you have a new baby who needs you, but you HAVE to make time for your first child. If that means baby is crying in daddy's loving, caring arms, I'd say that's okay (assuming all other needs are met) because that's not ignoring your baby's cries. Needs are met AND love is being offered by a parent (even if the baby isn't thrilled) meanwhile you also need to answer your older daughter's cries, which right now are cries for attention being expressed by behavior instead of tears. Also be sure to give LOTS of positive attention when she does something good. Like if she uses manners, give her a big hug and say "Wow, I noticed you using manners! How very polite of you!" This will show her that GOOD behavior gets her attention, and that if she wants attention she needs to show good behavior.

As for addressing the behaviors when they come up (and this should be step TWO because step ONE still needs to be addressing the CORE issue), I would suggest something that counteracts hitting. For example, when you hit someone, they are hurt. Naturally, they need to feel better. So helping them feel better would be a natural consequence, such as holding an ice pack on the boo boo they gave or having to "sit out" while someone else attends to the boo boo. This shows her also that when she hurts someone, all that does is get THEM attention, NOT her. I also think keeping her away from people while she is exhibiting an inability to respect other people's safety is a fair consequence.

Most importantly, try not to make a big deal out of this! I know it FEELS like a big deal, and I don't mean to make it sound like hitting is no big deal (it's one of the biggest deal behaviors, IMO, and FYI all kids go through it, so don't worry, it's normal!) but if you make a big deal out of it you will be showing her that acting out will get your attention. What you want to do is show her that acting out WON'T get your attention and that good behavior WILL, hence my earlier advice to lay on the attention when you like something she does.

For example, our youngest son used to never sit nice at the table. We would constantly reprimand him, remind him, etc. My husband would do things like take away his food until he sat nice (which I didn't agree with and that probably made things worse). anyway, when we started complimenting the other kids on sitting nice, THEN he sat nice. So basically what we would do is wordlessly sit him down the right away (because we don't want him to fall) and then say to the OTHER kids "Look how nicely you two are sitting at the table!" and then the youngest would sit nice and situate himself and we'd say "Oh, now you're sitting nicely too! I love it!" And within a week he was sitting nice at the table.

The point of that last story is that you can't under estimate positive reinforcement. Sometimes you are faced with something serious like "hitting" and it's all too easy to feel like you need to find a more serious consequence, but sometimes you just have to go back to the basics and approach things from another angle--focus on the good, ignore the bad.

FYI, I have two kids with autism and behavioral issues and have been working with behavioral therapists for 6 years now. One thing we have learned is to "ignore" certain behaviors. That doesn't mean we ignore the child or that we are REALLY ignoring the behavior. It just means we aren't giving *attention* to the behavior. We ARE noticing it though because when we see it we are making a plan for how to eliminate the behavior, which usually means finding other things to give positive reinforcement to. Anyway, what happens eventually is called "extinction" and you may see "extinction bursts". they are used too get attention for the bad behavior, so when you don't give it, then are going to be like HEY GIVE ME ATTENTION and do it more and harder etc, it's part of the extinction process. HOWEVER it's VERY important that you are not *really* ignoring the behavior. IE: you still have to address the cause of the behavior and deal with anything emotional/etc that is going on, you just have to do it in a way that surround positive experiences and behaviors. I hope that makes sense!
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  #5  
April 21st, 2013, 11:54 AM
IronMamma's Avatar Intactivist
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Lost, you always give great advice.

I hope you find a solution. KUP!
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Thank you *Kiliki* for my perfect siggy

Want to find a calmer way to parent? Please visit here HINTA Hitting Is Never The Answer
Gentle parenting is about guiding instead of controlling,
connecting instead of punishing,
and encouraging instead of demanding.
It's about listening, understanding, responding and communicating.

)O( Peace on Earth begins at Home )O(

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  #6  
April 21st, 2013, 12:17 PM
ashj_1218's Avatar Hiya!
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Huge hugs. I am sorry. It's always tough to go through things like this.

I do agree with giving lots of positive attention and special time with you (even if that means she can run to the corner store with you or help you do dishes). It does sound very typical for her age and the circumstances. I am not necessarily the best person to ask...because I am okay with time-outs from the situation and withdrawing attention because of the behavior. I, personally, think its okay if she needs to take a "break" from the situation and sit in a chair off to the side or even go to her room for some "quiet time." I don't necessary use the term time-out...but we use the concept and my son knows he can go have "quiet time" in his room whenever he wants...but can also be placed in there by us if he can't manage his behaviors in a safe, polite way for the situation. I think as long as you are doing the explaining and attention giving for good behaviors, removal is not always a bad thing. Especially if she learns how to calm herself down (with or without help from you) while in her room. I find that sometimes when my older son does stuff like that, if I go into his room with him and sit in the chair in the corner and tell him that he can come read with me or play cars with me after he can treat me nicely, it goes a long way for him not only calming himself down, but also tempering his desire to do it in the next situation. But it took a while for us to get there, where he would ask to have one of us play cars in his room for a bit or read him a book. Like he can tamp down his desire to throw things because he knows he can get attention a much better way and can ask us for it instead.

I do find it frustrating that others are playing into the problem by constantly commenting on the baby. That is hard to handle and I think you are doing the right thing by including your daughter in the praise and attention. Perhaps, if possible, you can ask some close friends and family members to pay particular attention to your older child next time you see them and explain that she needs a bit of TLC since her sister is drawing more attention with strangers/acquaintances lately. Maybe they will be able to help. I know my mom went a long way with Liam and I always make a point to notice and comment on older siblings first now...since I know how hard it is for the new big sibling.
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  #7  
April 21st, 2013, 12:26 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashj_1218 View Post
Huge hugs. I am sorry. It's always tough to go through things like this.

I do agree with giving lots of positive attention and special time with you (even if that means she can run to the corner store with you or help you do dishes). It does sound very typical for her age and the circumstances. I am not necessarily the best person to ask...because I am okay with time-outs from the situation and withdrawing attention because of the behavior. I, personally, think its okay if she needs to take a "break" from the situation and sit in a chair off to the side or even go to her room for some "quiet time." I don't necessary use the term time-out...but we use the concept and my son knows he can go have "quiet time" in his room whenever he wants...but can also be placed in there by us if he can't manage his behaviors in a safe, polite way for the situation. I think as long as you are doing the explaining and attention giving for good behaviors, removal is not always a bad thing. Especially if she learns how to calm herself down (with or without help from you) while in her room. I find that sometimes when my older son does stuff like that, if I go into his room with him and sit in the chair in the corner and tell him that he can come read with me or play cars with me after he can treat me nicely, it goes a long way for him not only calming himself down, but also tempering his desire to do it in the next situation. But it took a while for us to get there, where he would ask to have one of us play cars in his room for a bit or read him a book. Like he can tamp down his desire to throw things because he knows he can get attention a much better way and can ask us for it instead.

I do find it frustrating that others are playing into the problem by constantly commenting on the baby. That is hard to handle and I think you are doing the right thing by including your daughter in the praise and attention. Perhaps, if possible, you can ask some close friends and family members to pay particular attention to your older child next time you see them and explain that she needs a bit of TLC since her sister is drawing more attention with strangers/acquaintances lately. Maybe they will be able to help. I know my mom went a long way with Liam and I always make a point to notice and comment on older siblings first now...since I know how hard it is for the new big sibling.
I agree with this. I also think it's healthy to teach a child that when they can't control themselves they are better off taking a break. Of course, if you child is acting out for attention, and they aren't getting attention in other ways, then the act of being put in time out IS attention, even if it's followed by being isolated, and for a child who feels they aren't getting attention it's worth it to act out to get that negative attention. So I would keep time-out/break time in your parenting tool belt, but just be sure that MOST of the attention (as in WAY more than half!) she gets is positive attention, not just being stuck in time out because she *feels* ignored and is acting out because of it. In that case, a time out is like sticking a band-aid on a gun shot.
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  #8  
April 21st, 2013, 05:08 PM
IronMamma's Avatar Intactivist
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I agree. I think taking breaks is good. Even I need a break sometimes. But at the same time, I also think they are not so good at times. Ahh, its so hard to say! I hope you find a solution. These ladies have given some great advice.
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Thank you *Kiliki* for my perfect siggy

Want to find a calmer way to parent? Please visit here HINTA Hitting Is Never The Answer
Gentle parenting is about guiding instead of controlling,
connecting instead of punishing,
and encouraging instead of demanding.
It's about listening, understanding, responding and communicating.

)O( Peace on Earth begins at Home )O(

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  #9  
April 21st, 2013, 05:21 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMamma View Post
I agree. I think taking breaks is good. Even I need a break sometimes. But at the same time, I also think they are not so good at times. Ahh, its so hard to say! I hope you find a solution. These ladies have given some great advice.
(IMO) It's all about timing and context and the situation. I do things like modeling taking a break (IE, I say, "I'm getting really mad, so I'm going to take a break." then I do). We also do pretend play where someone has to take a break, etc. We'll go over the same pretend scenario a few times, showing different way to handle different variations of the scenario.

We try to save "time outs" for the "big stuff" (while dealing with the underlying issue) but we try to encourage them taking a break before it gets to the point that they would need a time out. Example: If I see my son getting worked up, I'll say "Why don't you take a break so you don't end up getting a time out." For a break, kids can pick where they go and what they do while they are there; they can even choose to bring me with them on the break and have me talk to them about ways to solve what is getting them worked up.

But if they hit, they get a time out, and that means in your room, no toys, and we don't talk until after. HOWEVER, it's usually a sign to me that OTHER parenting techniques need to be stepped up to prevent us getting to the point where we need a time out. As I see it, when my kid "needs" a time out, I am missing a step. Not that I beat myself up over it, it just clues me in. They made a mistake; but if it's a mistake like that, it's usually because I made a mistake and I've been missing a preventative measure or haven't been meeting an emotional need to the fullest.

That's out take on it, and it's not for everyone for various reasons (some people think time out should be used more and a kid should learn to suck it up and deal with it; some think time out should never, ever be used; I'm in the middle) but if it helps, that's what we do and how we look at things.
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Check out the Attachment Parenting Board for Effective Parenting Solutions.
PM me if have questions about autism, TTC gender swaying, natural childbirth, going "vaccine-free", or if you are looking for gentle discipline advice.
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  #10  
April 21st, 2013, 05:34 PM
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Lost, I agree 110% about timing. I have always told DH that if Drake does something that is not "correct" and needs to be explained as to why and how to fix it, we need to step aside and correct the problem then and there while it's fresh. The longer the wait, the more the child will forget and the harder it will be to correct and educate them on.

I have also come up with a solution for time out's in this family. DH and I have discussed this years even before we TTC. Instead of time outs, we are going to have time in's, and there is an issue or a behavior that needs to be corrected we are all, as a family going to sit at the table and have a time IN and discuss why we are here, what went wrong, what we can do to change it and then demonstrate it so there is a verbal understanding as well as an action understanding.
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Thank you *Kiliki* for my perfect siggy

Want to find a calmer way to parent? Please visit here HINTA Hitting Is Never The Answer
Gentle parenting is about guiding instead of controlling,
connecting instead of punishing,
and encouraging instead of demanding.
It's about listening, understanding, responding and communicating.

)O( Peace on Earth begins at Home )O(

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  #11  
April 21st, 2013, 07:23 PM
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I always knew you ladies were so awesome! All of this advice is great (and greatly appreciated too!). Last night DD#1 and I went to dinner together at Panera and then went to Target and bought some little cheap-y BFF bracelets. We gave each other's bracelets big hugs and big kisses and she said to me, "Now when I want to have all of your attention, I can just rub my bracelets really hard and remember that you love me." It about broke my heart! But in a good way. She really is an amazing kid and I need to keep reminding myself of that. Again - thank you, ladies!
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  #12  
April 21st, 2013, 08:00 PM
IronMamma's Avatar Intactivist
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You're very welcome! I'm glad you had a fun time with her! I would have cried if she said that to me. Must have been a very heart warming bittersweet moment.

I always try to tell myself things like this:

You know when you have something really exciting to do in the morning, like Disney World or something and you are SO excited you just cannot sleep NO MATTER what you do? Well, I'd like to imagine that is how it is for Drake and any kid. This world is so new to them and they are excited for everything!!

You sound like you have a great little girl Diva. You are doing such a good job! Things WILL get better and they WILL get easier. Cherish these "hard" times. One day she won't need / want you anymore, I hate to believe that but we as adults know this all too well.
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Thank you *Kiliki* for my perfect siggy

Want to find a calmer way to parent? Please visit here HINTA Hitting Is Never The Answer
Gentle parenting is about guiding instead of controlling,
connecting instead of punishing,
and encouraging instead of demanding.
It's about listening, understanding, responding and communicating.

)O( Peace on Earth begins at Home )O(

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  #13  
April 22nd, 2013, 05:02 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Way to go diva! Sounds like some major progress keep it up. Things WILL get easier! Of you get stuck or just need to vent, remember you have us to talk to. You are a great mom and these hard times are all just a part of any kid growing up. It's how you handle the hard times that count
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Thank you Jaidynsmum for the beautiful siggy!
Check out the Attachment Parenting Board for Effective Parenting Solutions.
PM me if have questions about autism, TTC gender swaying, natural childbirth, going "vaccine-free", or if you are looking for gentle discipline advice.
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  #14  
April 22nd, 2013, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by divadresser View Post
"Now when I want to have all of your attention, I can just rub my bracelets really hard and remember that you love me."
That is so incredibly precious. What a special little girl.

I think the ladies hit everything right on the head, I hope things continue to go well for all four of you! I know there will be bad days but you have the tools now and you can do this
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